CI fall2017

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Fall Into Winter 2017

Volume 1, Issue 2

Access Granted

Funding new programming in Shawnee County






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2017 GOLD ROSE AWARD: Julie Connor #LIFEGOALS New Year’s Resolutions


What’s going to make your New Year Resolution cut to help you make 2018 brilliant and bold?

SUSTAINER SPOTLIGHT: Shanna Dunn-Vigare - Continuing the Impact


Starting and managing a successful book club







ON THE SCENE! Capturing League members in action!














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Fall Into Winter 2017 Featured Contributors Liz Daily, cabi Stylist Brett James, Crossfit Freestate Jennifer Mims Cassie Norton Marsha Pope, Topeka Community Foundation Marsha Sheahan, Past President

from the



ime is the most valuable commodity. It is finite. When the hustle and bustle of the holidays comes crashing into our already busy lives we can feel overwhelmed and stressed. We can feel as though we need to be in more than one place at the same time or nothing will be accomplished. In this stress, I encourage you to breathe, allow yourself (and others) grace, and to have patience.

Contributors Erin Aldridge Katie Elwell Ashley Franken Cassie Norton Kim Sixkiller

In the past year I’ve served on boards, volunteered hundreds of hours, made my thriving business my full-time job and have felt drawn in so many directions that I just can’t keep up. While each hour spent has been on something that I care deeply about, sometimes to take care of the people that are the most important to us it’s critical to take a step back and ensure our time spent reflects our priorities.

Editorial Board Jennifer Sourk- President Amber Carlson - Communications Council Maura Gathers - Leadership Council Laura Vaughn - Leadership Council Erica Sextro - Funding Development Council Lauren Christ - Community Member Tracy Jepson - Editor Bailee Carpenter - Assistant Editor Maddie Williams- Assistant Editor

As I near the new year, I’m thinking of the ways I’d like to spend my time so there isn’t a constant on-the-go feeling. I will focus my time on my highest priorities, my family, my friends and my company. My two resolutions for 2018 and my challenge to you are: 1. To be present. The greatest gift you can give is your undivided attention. No matter what activity I’m working on, I want to be 100% in the moment. This means leaving the cell phone in a purse or pocket, switching off the notifications and living in the moment, not posting about it.

Editorial Team Vice President Communications Council Katie Koupal Assistant Editors Bailee Carpenter & Maddie Williams Editor Tracy Jepson

2. To give. Whether you are able to donate financially or with your time, find a cause that sets your soul on fire. Give to make a better community for yourself and others. Give back because it makes you feel good. It is through the time given by so many that our team could bring you this magazine. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of making our Fall/Winter issue so special. Cheers to a new year and making each moment count!

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In the Junior League of Topeka, we define leadership as serving to create positive community change. As the Junior League of Topeka moves forward after finding a permanent home for Diaper Depot, we will be addressing community impact by focusing on issues rather than on individual projects. This issue-based model enables us to work in partnership throughout the community and it drives sustainable change.

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During this process, we will be assessing the needs and assets in our community to prepare a well-designed strategy for change. This will allow our League to identify the issue where our members can be most impactful within our community’s ecosystem.

The challenging work has already begun but we expect this process to be thorough and in collaboration with the number of powerful movements already happening in Topeka. This long-view mindset allows the Junior League of Topeka to fulfill our mission of improving communities in a meaningful and systemic way.

Over the last 81 years, the Junior League of Topeka has taken on issues that need to be addressed in our community by being the driving force behind meaningful projects. I am personally excited to be playing a small part in identifying and developing a plan that will make long-lasting change for my community. Best Wishes,

Jennifer Sourk, 2016-2018 President


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Board of Directors

Jennifer Sourk

Bridgette Hooper

Angie Haggard

Katie Koupal




Ali Wilson

Kim Sixkiller

Katie Elwell

Laurie Niehaus

Marsha Sheahan

Funding Development

Leadership Development

Membership Development

Sustainer Representative

Sustainer Advisor


Erin Aldridge

Community Impact


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Julie Connor


ach year the Junior League of Topeka’s Gold Rose Award honors a sustaining member for her ongoing positive impact in our community. This is the most prestigious award given by our organization to recognize a woman who has used her league training to contribute to the betterment of the Topeka community. The Gold Rose Award began in 1971 when it was awarded to Elizabeth “Betty” Edson Bowers. Although Betty is no longer with us her skills, volunteer service, and dedication to improving our community are remembered each year as we honor another exceptional woman.

the League’s fundraising initiatives. Throughout our community she has co-founded many notable fundraisers such as CASA’s Battle of the Lips, the American Cancer Society’s Couture for Cancer, Friends of the Topeka Zoo’s Zoobilee fundraiser, Most Pure Heart’s Five Hearts Gala, and Art for Eric’s local fund raiser for ALS which netted $50,000 in support for a young man’s family to support medical and living expenses for those battling ALS.

Nominations for this award are received from both active and sustaining members. These nominations are evaluated by the Gold Rose Committee who then selects an outstanding honoree. Each year this is a difficult selection process as a number of worthy nominees are submitted for consideration. This year’s recipient, Julie Connor, has distinguished herself as a volunteer leader who effectively brings people together to create solutions and new organizations where needs exist and to drive and achieve results. Connor’s creativity, openness to new ideas, and infectious enthusiasm define her leadership style. All of these characteristics – combined with a true love for her hometown community and commitment to dive in and tackle the hard work – make her a champion for our community. While an active Junior League member Connor co-founded and served as our first chairwoman for Merry Market; an extremely successful signature fundraising event that ran for many years within the League. Additionally, she served as a member of Funding Development and Leadership Development Councils. After going sustaining her commitment didn’t stop there. This remarkable woman has also served as an advisor to new board members and on special committees to review

Connor with her son, Joey, and husband, Bill.

Our 2017 honoree takes an “all hands in, pave the path and create new ways to help” approach to giving and has touched many lives throughout the community.


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By beginning to think of your resolutions and goals in advance, you position yourself for changes to come and the shifts in mindset and lifestyle for your plans you have ahead of you. One of the reasons the tradition of setting New Year’s Resolutions each year (despite the abandonment) is our inherent desire for self-improvement. There’s an optimism contained within the act of creating resolutions for the new year.

Here are some of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions for your best 2018. Battle the bulge and get fit. Kansas was the only state in the U.S. to reduce adult obesity rates in 2016. Despite this great news of our state’s shrinking statistics, one in three Kansans is still obese – not overweight but obese. Gyms offer personal trainers who want to help you create a workout plan customized for your body condition and fitness goals. A personal trainer can be an amazing investment in your conditioning. If you will be just starting out or resuming an exercise regime following a break, buying a training program can help you make the most efficient use of your workouts, provides you motivation and accountability, and (perhaps most importantly) helps prevent occurrences of injuries. If a gym isn’t quite your scene, consider looking into something new to you such as a Pilates or yoga studio, or check out a CrossFit box!


New Year’s Resolutions Jennifer Mims

“Again, the opportunity has come to start off with our best. Make sure all 365 pages of your book are worth writing; as well publishing for.” ~Kaushal Yadav

Our health is so much more than what happens in sneakers or on a yoga mat. We are what we eat! Consulting a nutritionist or dietician can help you reset your mindset with food and help you to see all those benefits of your toning and strength building. Expand your reach and help others. Another popular New Year’s Resolution is to volunteer, volunteer more, and make one’s community a better place to be. Whatever your passion is, whether you melt at the sight of four legged friends, want to build a house, or mentor a child, there are Continued on p.17

It feels like by the time we even blink, Thanksgiving turkeys will be long carved, menorah candles burned through, and Christmas decorations stowed back in their storage spaces to wait another year. Many of us look beyond the post-holiday slump and into a new year with anticipation, hope, and resolve. You’ve got it – this is New Year’s Resolution time! The allure of starting a new year with a clean slate, a fresh start, or from scratch is alluring to many Americans. As many as 45% of us begin January 1 with at least one resolution set for the upcoming year. While there is some merit to the argument that January 1 is a rather arbitrary date, there’s a lot of benefit to be had by looking toward this day. 9

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A New Home for the Diaper Depot Junior League of Topeka announces transfer of Diaper Depot to Community Action, Inc. At a press conference held in September at the Diaper Depot warehouse, Jennifer Sourk, President of the Junior League of Topeka, announced that the League is transferring its signature program to Community Action, Inc. This announcement came during Diaper Need Awareness Week, September 25 to October 1, 2017. Since Diaper Depot was formed in 2012 it has been serving the needs of the community through the work of Junior League volunteers and dedicated community partners like Harvesters, Let’s Help, and Community Action. Diaper Depot currently distributes 150,000 diapers per year to children in need. Junior League of Topeka has successfully created and transferred ownership of many projects that have greatly benefited the community during its 81 years and is thrilled that after five years of dedication to Diaper Depot it found a permanent home. The transfer will take place over several months after which time Community Action, Inc. will be running all aspects of Diaper Depot.

A project of the Junior League of Topeka

Tawny Stottlemire, Executive Director at Community Action, Inc. says, “At Community Action, we fight poverty through a wide variety of strategies. Diaper Depot is a strategy that capitalizes on valuable community partnerships and helps low-income parents stretch their resources a little further each month. We see this as a home run for all of Shawnee County.”

Donate at one of the permanent drop-off locations or host your own diaper drive! Brandon Aldridge State Farm Agency 29th & Croco Rd. Kirk & Cobb Realtors 29th & Gage Blvd. USD 501 Parents as Teachers Quinton Heights Education Center Host a drive at your business, church, or school. Even playgroups are great places to gather diapers! Contact to sign up! Fill out a form, pick a date, spread the word and then collect diapers. It’s that easy! Let us help you get your diaper drive started today!

Junior League of Topeka members with Community Action team during transition press conference, September 2017


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Sustainer Spotlight Shanna Dunn-Vigare In May of 2016, there were many peaks and valleys for Shanna Dunn-Vigare. It was a time of celebration, a time of bereavement and a time of resolution.

and breathing problems (i.e. hyperventilation and breath holding).

The month kicked off with Shanna celebrating the 21st birthday of her longtime, furry, four-legged canine companion, Ruffy. She adopted Ruffy from an animal shelter in Salina, Kansas, where Shanna and Sam, her husband of (now) 21 years, had resided before moving to Topeka.

Lucy was only 2 days old when she was placed into the arms of Shanna and Sam. She appeared to be a healthy baby girl. It was around 16 months when Shanna noticed some significant changes in Lucy. For instance, she had stopped speaking her newly learned words. She also showed disinterest in playing with her age-appropriate toys. Instead she would wander and hit vertical structures with her hands.

Unfortunately, the excitement over a dog making it to an unbelievable age would soon come to a halt. Within a few days of turning 21, Ruffy crossed the Rainbow Bridge. This was the first time Shanna had ever experienced the loss of her very own pet. However, Shanna’s feelings of sadness for the passing of her Benji-like dog would soon fade as she prepared for her final General Membership Meeting (GMM) as an active member of Junior League of Topeka (JLT). The transition from Active Gold membership status to Sustaining Member of JLT was a joyous occasion for her and her the other women who also joined JLT in 2009.

Lucy’s pediatrician recommended that Shanna contact TARC. TARC is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides a variety of services to help children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They have served more than 2,500 individuals and families over the past 63 years. The professional staff at TARC would become a huge part in the exploration of solving the mystery of Lucy’s bizarre behavior and the regression in her development.

Known by many as ‘Shanna-Banana’, Dunn-Vigare brings her contagious enthusiasm and dedication into any role she plays from mother and wife to volunteer and committee president.

After the GMM, the newest group of Sustainers continued the commemoration at a local watering hole. There was a lot of laughter as they exchanged their personal memories of League. This was a nice outlet for Shanna as she was able to put aside her grief - her grief was not about Ruffy, but, it was something much larger. She had been harboring a big secret.

Shanna admits she was not keen about receiving support from TARC early on. She was hoping for a quick fix for Lucy, so she could have a “normal” childhood. However, that would not be the case. Little did Shanna know at the time, the referral to TARC would be the beginning of an unforgettable journey with newfound friendships.

Even though there had been plenty of ups and downs in May of 2016, none of them would be as memorable as “the phone call” she received from a medical doctor at the University of Kansas Medical Center. It was the phone call confirming what she had long suspected. Shanna and Sam’s only child, Lucy (now age 4), has Rett Syndrome.

Over the next 18 months, TARC would provide a variety of services in the family’s home and at Lucy’s daycare on a weekly basis. TARC put together a team of specialists from TARC to work with Lucy as well as Shanna and Sam. The team was made up of an Early Child Special Education Teacher, Speech Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, Child Psychologist, and a doctorate level Autism specialist. Each member of the TARC team provided Shanna and Sam with evidencebased ideas, educational tools and equipment to hlep Lucy develop skills in her own environment.

Rett Syndrome is a rare genetic neurological and developmental disorder. It affects the way the brain develops causing progressive inability to use muscles that control movement, coordination and communication. A few other symptoms of Rett Syndrome also include repetitive hand movements, scoliosis, irregular heartbeat, seizures,

In addition, TARC increased the resources for the Vigares 12

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by connecting them with outside support, such as Juniper Gardens Children’s Project in Kansas City. On top of that, they assisted in referring them to specialty doctors to help determine Lucy’s diagnosis. They would keep the doctors updated on any changes with Lucy. For several months, TARC would be right along the side of the Vigares as they searched for an answer in trying to make sense of Lucy’s abnormal development. The diagnosis of Autism, which was given to Lucy after the first examination by a team of medical specialists in Kansas City, no longer seemed applicable. Shanna pressed on for more answers. As the frustration of no explanation about Lucy’s illness had started to take a toll on Shanna, an earlier remark made by a physician, “hopeful it’s not Rett,” was starting to echo louder and louder in her mind. The “what if “ was now becoming a reality. With the support of TARC, Shanna contacted the genetic physician who had already conducted an earlier test on Lucy to rule out other syndromes (i.e. Fragile X Syndrome). She requested a more in-depth genetic test to make sure Lucy did not have Rett Syndrome. The geneticist told the Vigare family it would take three months for the results of the test though they arrived a month sooner and their worst fears were confirmed. It was devastating news to the Vigares, but also, a bit of relief that there was a conclusive answer to the mystery of Lucy.

Today Lucy continues to receive some services from TARC, but the relationship for Shanna with TARC has shifted into s o m e t h i n g much more than receiving support as a mother of a child with special needs. Shanna has become an advocate for TARC and its services by using her leadership skills acquired through the Junior League of Topeka. Additionally, TARC has invited Shanna to serve on the Early Childhood Collaboration of Shawnee County committee, and, she was recently voted president of the committee for 2018. In March of this year TARC presented Shanna and Sam with the Children Services Advocacy Award for their continued work with the agency. Additionally, Shanna was invited to speak for TARC’s Brown Bag Lunch forum. She spoke about Rett Syndrome and the experience of being a parent of a child with disabilities. The Vigares and TARC staff are currently working together to create a support group for parents whose children are enrolled in TARC’s tiny-k program. The relationship between the Vigares and TARC will continue to be meaningful and valuable, just as the one Shanna has with the League.

Rett syndrome is a rare neurological disorder that is recognized in infancy Every 2 hours, a girl is born with Rett syndrome 1 in every 10,000 births are diagnosed with Rett syndrome Rett syndrome is confirmed with a simple blood test to identify the gene (MECP2) mutation

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Are you interested in learning more about what it means to be a member of the Junior League of Topeka? As an organization committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community though the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers, our membership requirements are geared toward achieving that goal! Our members are asked to attend monthly meetings, log volunteers hours in the community, and invest in the organization through annual membership dues. These requirements are focused on furthering the mission of the Junior League in Topeka. Through these commitments, members receive training in leadership, organizational development, community needs assessment, mentoring, advocacy, communications, funding development, strategic planning, negotiation, networking and more. Training, voluntarism, and social events benefit our members and build life-long friendships with others who share the same passion for our community.

If you would like to receive more information about membership in the Junior League of Topeka, please email All women ag 18 and over are welcome and we are excited to meet you!

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Ladies Who Read

Start and manage a successful book club! Cassie Norton

The Junior League of Topeka book club started over two years ago and has been a great hit with our provisional, active and sustaining members. Some months are more well attended than others, but we have a wonderful group of women. The conversations are always engaging and sometimes very lively. If you have ever thought about starting your own book club, here are some tips to get you started: Decide what type of club you want. Do you want it to be more of a social time or do you just want to solely discuss the books? Ours is a bit of a blend. We spend the first 30 minutes socializing, eating, and drinking, then we typically adjourn to another room and start discussing the book. Choose what type of books you are going to read. This way you can let people know what to expect when you are inviting them to join. Will you be reading romance, suspense, biography, a mix of everything? We read a mix of everything and anyone can recommend a book. Also, try to keep your books under 500 pages or people may get overwhelmed. We select our books two months out, giving everyone plenty of time to get and read the book. How often do you want to meet? Once a month, every other month, once a quarter? When our group started we met every six weeks, but it was decided that the meetings were too far apart. Now we meet once a month. Sometimes members will come who haven’t had a chance to read the book and that’s okay! They just do so with the understanding that there will be spoilers. How will you obtain the books? The Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library offers an extensive selection of books in their Book Club in a Bag, so this may be an option for you. Once we pick a book it’s up to each member to get their copy. This works well because some members prefer ebooks while others still like a paper book. Use This is the biggest key to our success. Doodle is an online scheduling tool that allows you to choose several dates and then send those dates to the members for voting. Everyone selects which dates work best for them, and the most popular date is selected for the next meeting. It is quick and easy to use. You will probably never find a date that works for every person, but it does ensure you that you’ll have a good turnout. Where are you going to meet? We take turns hosting at our homes each month, and all members bring a bottle of wine or an appetizer to share. Hosting should not be a mandatory requirement for all members, as some may not be comfortable having a large group in their home. Meeting at a coffee shop or restaurant is also an option, and most are happy to accommodate a group if you contact them in advance. Continued...


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Food and drink are important! At least for us, they are. Some book clubs have themed meetings based on the book, but so far we are not that advanced. Print discussion questions for the book. There are times when getting a discussion going can be difficult, and having some questions prepared helps break the ice. Most of the time a quick Google search will give you questions specifically for book clubs. However, if you have a lively discussion going, don’t feel bound to the questions. Choose a leader. You will want input from everyone, but ultimately you need one person who is in charge of the scheduling and book selection, and who has the final say when it comes to decisions. The leader is also there to keep discussions on track, and to help ensure that everyone is able to participate. Have fun! You want members to want to keep coming back.


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Continued from p. 8

organizations in Topeka that could use your help. One of the tenets of Junior League of Topeka’s mission is to promote voluntarism. A second tenet is improving our community – the Topeka community. We do so in partnership with and in support of several organizations. Like-minded women who may be interested in joining our mission are welcome! Learn something new. Maybe this is the year you learn to code, crochet a poncho, master the art of rolling pasta, pick up a long neglected tennis racket, or take up Italian (or German, or ASL). For many people, integrating life long learning is one of the most motivating, and easiest, resolutions to make. Whether enrolling in courses at a community college, YWCA, academy, or going online, there are many opportunities to develop a skill through recreational or adult learning contexts. Maybe you want to build your career advancement potential or expand leadership capabilities. The third tenet of Junior League of Topeka’s mission is developing the potential of women. We are volunteer based and educational in our orientation. Members of Junior League of Topeka have access to multiple leadership development trainings and skill building opportunities. If you are interested to learn more, meet us at one of our new member social opportunities. Be more present with friends and family. Every year, more than 50% of Americans make some sort of commitment to spend more time with and appreciate their loved ones. Register for that 5k and set up a training plan to prepare together, or set up a monthly GNO (Guys’ Night Out or Girls’ Night Out or Grown Ups/Date Night Out). This is a great time to make plans to take the family out for any one of Topeka’s hot spots for family fun. Creating the priority for spending time with your loved ones is a positive effect for your well-being. Work to live, not live to work! Eliminate your debt. As many as 8 in 10 Americans have a burdensome load of debt. Money is one of the biggest stressors affecting quality of life for Americans, and stress is known to have a negative effect on mental and physical health. Whether meeting with a financial advisor or taking online courses for personal finance, getting on top of and eradicating that debt is a promise that delivers for the rest of your future.

Should old acquaintance be forgot? Not quite the case with New Year’s Resolutions! People who set a “resolution” are almost 50% more likely to see their resolution achieved compared to others who aim for a certain goal. So, the very mindset of declaring a resolution sets you further toward success! Psychologist Lynn Bufka, PhD, says, “remember, it is not the extent of the change that matters, but rather the act of recognizing that lifestyle change is important and working toward it, one step at a time.” So, what’s going to make your New Year Resolution cut to help you make 2018 brilliant and bold?

Proudly supporting the Junior League of Topeka

Share your New Year’s Resolutions with us on Facebook or Instagram using #JLTResolutions! 17

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Social Media

Tips & Tricks for Nonprofits Engaging with your audience: • Put the “social” back in social media and remember to engage with your audience in a two-way conversation • Think about how your different audiences (such as prospective volunteers) will receive your social messaging • Think about what prospective volunteers or donors might want to know about your organization • Ensure your social media presence reflects your mission and makes clear to prospective members the who, what and WHY! • Provide a well-rounded image of your organization • Make sure to post displays of thought leadership, good news about your community and community partners and articles related to community impact initiatives written by experts • Stop talking only about your organization and pay it forward by mentioning your community and your partners Discovering great content: Where to start? • Use Google Alerts to get notifications for keyword phrases of interest (e.g., Volunteers, Children’s Museum, etc.) • Share content from your community partners’ social media accounts • Follow accounts of organizations in your field that share similar values • Clean up your post and remove the link after it populates Tools and resources: • There are plenty of tools to assist you such as, Hootsuite, Canva, Sprout Social and Facebook Scheduling (within Facebook) to name a few Source: 2017, The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc.

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Access Granted:

Funding new programming in Shawnee County Ashley Franken

Each year, the Junior League of Topeka grants money to worthy, local nonprofit organizations to further the League’s mission of promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through this collaboration. The League seeks applicants from local community members and nonprofit organizations and awards up to $3,000 in grant money. Funds for these grants are raised through internal initiatives such as member shopping socials or restaurant nights. These small amounts have led to big changes in Topeka. Let’s take a look back at how the grants have had a capital impact on Topeka and Shawnee County. 2017 • •

Topeka Habitat for Humanity: $2,000 for Women with Voices Antioch Family Life Center: $1,000 for Beginning to End Summer Camp

Women with Voices

A new program for Habitat for Humanity will train women to be leaders in their neighborhoods by providing a curriculum to empower them and help mentor other women. The grant will help launch the program and the inaugural class started this fall.

Beginning to End Summer Camp

The Beginning to End Summer Camp is a camp for impoverished youth and their families. These kids learn art, personal finance, nutrition, parent and family involvement, civil engagement, wellness, mental health and etiquette. The summer ends with an etiquette dinner where the children can show off their new-found skills.


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2016 • •

YWCA: $2,300 for Mighty Girls Summer Program Silverbackks: $700 to fund the Silverbras Initiative

Mighty Girls

The Mighty Girls program is run by the YWCA. Propelled by their mission of empowering women, this program was developed to provide leadership opportunities for girls in grades 5-8 while helping them strengthen their connection to the community. The grant provided scholarship opportunities to youth who would not be able to otherwise attend due to low income. The girls learn leadership skills around a different topic each week and come up with an idea to better their community with their new skills. Positively impacting their community gives them a sense of purpose.


Silverbras, an outreach of Silverbackks, assists women with the basic need of undergarments. Bras are a basic necessity to most, but for some, it is a luxury they cannot afford. The lack of these garments contributes to lower confidence on top of dealing with poverty. Twice a year Silverbras holds an Uplifting Women event. While there, women can get bras, panties and access to healthcare tests. Silverbackks reaches these women by working with other nonprofit groups, schools and healthcare providers. They stock a basic supply of bras to distribute to these groups. But, not everyone fits into the sizes they have on hand. That is where the JLT grant came in. The Junior League provided Silverbras the ability to special order less common bra sizes for these ladies. They take donations of new or gently used (not damaged and with a readable label) bras at several sites around Topeka.

2015 • • •

The Green Gals: $1,000 KVC Kansas: $500 for the Back-to-School program YWCA: $750 Girls on the Run

The Green Gals

The Green Gals are a non-profit organization that empowers incarcerated women through education. Education is often a barrier for women in general, especially those in prison. The $1,000 grant funded college courses at Washburn Tech for two women at the Topeka Correctional Facility. This grant launched the program and it has grown larger since they received it. After the Green Gals enrolled those ladies in college programs, Washburn Tech ran with the program. The 2015 grant paved the way for the Green Gals to apply for federal grants that now fund a much bigger program. They have opened a state of the art mobile lab at the correctional facility to hold classes for those women and inmates can work toward their GED or hundreds of other certifications. There are also systems in place to help these women to complete their studies at Washburn Tech after their release.

KVC Kansas

KVC Kansas enhances the lives of children and their families in Eastern Kansas. On any given day they are caring for 3,100 children. One of the ways they do this is by supporting the foster care system in Kansas. Every year KVC of Kansas recruits and trains foster families to love and support children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or other challenges. These funds from the Junior League supported their Back-to-School Program which provides backpacks and other supplies to children in the foster system. KVC has helped match more than 3,000 children in U.S. foster care with forever families since 2005. Continued... 21

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YWCA Girls on the Run

Girls on the Run is so much more than just running. It inspires the participants to be joyful, healthy and confident using running as a method of teaching. The girls learn skills that will make them successful throughout life. The girls and their mentors meet twice a week and train body and mind in a small group setting. In doing this, they learn the importance of teamwork and valuing relationships. Over the course of the program girls will develop and improve competence, feel confidence in who they are, develop strength of character, respond to others and themselves with care and compassion and create positive connections with peers and adults. Fitting with the mission of the Junior League of Topeka, the girls learn the power of serving others and the good that can come to the community from doing that. At the end of each season the program culminates in a 5K race in which the girls run with their buddies. They are able to see how to make something that seems impossible, possible. Completing a 5K gives the girls a tangible sense of achievement as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals.

Barbara’s Conservatory


arbara’s Conservatory of Dance is a family-friendly studio for all ages dedicated to the joy of movement through the study of classical dance.

of Dance

., Home of Ballet Midwest

Now enrolling! • • • •

Ballet & Pointe Pas De Deux Liturgical Lyrical

• • • •

Modern Tap Jazz Broadway Jazz

• Hip Hop • Conditioning • Boys’ and Mens’ classes

785-272-5991 or 785-272-0299 4300 SW Huntoon Topeka, KS 66604 • 22

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Board Service Serving Oers and e Community By Marsha Sheahan, Junior League of Topeka sustainer and past president

Many of us think about helping in the community by joining the board of an organization that serves a need we’re passionate about helping. It may be in the realm of civic improvement, or perhaps children in need, or maybe a group that preserves the history and traditions of the Topeka area. Whatever your passion, board service can be very rewarding. How do you connect with that organization or board? Volunteering for the organization and getting to know the leaders and how the organization operates is a great “first step.” Perhaps you can help plan an event, coordinate a mailing, develop a marketing campaign or participate in their annual walk. You can use your professional skills, or expand your skills, by assisting with a task requiring you to develop your skills to a greater extent. Once you’ve decided on an organization you’d like to serve, let the leaders or staff know of your interest and stay involved as a volunteer as it sometimes takes a year or more for the nominating process to work. Board members must have enthusiasm for the agency and be willing to implement new ideas and projects. Board members must work effectively with others in a group or team setting. Board members must be willing to be held accountable for their roles. Board members also should accept a role with fundraising activities. The old adage of “time, talent, and treasure” remains true in board service. Above all, board members should be passionate about the organization! Board members should also help achieve the stated purposes and objectives of the organization, make policies and plans, raise and manage the organizations’ funds, employ staff, serve on committees, and take responsibility for any property the organization owns, leases, or has free use of for organization purposes. Board members should strive to develop the organization’s own future effectiveness by helping identify a diverse pool of potential board members that can carry the organization forward into the future. Serving on a board gives you purpose outside your daily life. It gives you opportunity to find friends with similar interests while making a difference inthe future of the community. Everyone wins when you take the time to serve!

So you’ve been asked to serve….what now? •

Insist on a face-to-face interview with a representative of the nominating committee or staff. Understand why they are asking YOU to serve.

Insist on a written job description--just exactly are you saying “yes” to?

Review the bylaws, programs, organizational structure, budget, current P&L and long range plans.

Ask for an orientation and a glossary of terms used by the organization.

Ask to be assigned to a committee.

Pitch in right away.

Once you’ve joined a board, make sure you’re prepared for board meetings.

Be passionate about the organization!


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Life Is About Moments

Photo Credit: Rudeen Handcrafted Ceramics & Photography

Selecting the Backdrop For Your Big Event Abbie Brown, The Brownstone Ashley Franken

There is much to celebrate and finding the perfect venue is undoubtedly one of the most important and impactful choices to fulfill your event vision. There are many critical aspects when selecting the ideal space but focusing on the people involved in the process will help guide your decision. First, you must focus on your planning team’s needs. Together you will decide on the essential aspects of the event and rank them by importance including budget, guest list number, room set up, technology needs, event date and tentative length of agenda. Once you have settled on the specifics you must shift your focus to your guests. The details are very significant and include items such as distance from their home town, hotels near the venue and ease of parking. The ambiance of the venue is vital when analyzing how your guests expect to feel, varying from formal, non-formal, rustic or elegant. Knowing their expectations will help you select a space to fit their needs. Other details such as handicap accessibility and air conditioning are other crucial factors to consider. After narrowing down your venue list based on your team and guest requirements, it is important to interact with venue staff members to learn more about their customer service and the help they can provide during the event. Tours of your top venue spaces are a wonderful way to finalize your decision.

Photo Credit: Evert Nelson

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Looking for that special place for an upcoming wedding, birthday party, business meeting, or holiday party? Topeka has beautiful, unique, and historical places to offer. Glaciers Edge: This is a fairly new and unique venue to the Topeka and surrounding area. Glacier’s Edge opened in 2014 and there is nothing else like it around Topeka! Mike and Lisa Steinert, the wonderful owners, do free wine tastings during their normal business hours and, trust me, it’s worth it! Bring your own snacks and check out the wine. They also hold private events; their indoor seating holds 90 people and their outdoor patio holds 45. The Brownstone: This is one of Topeka’s historical venues. It’s been around since 1927, starting off as a dairy barn the bar is a renovated silo! The Brownstone has several spaces to offer. Their main reception hall, which is the original barn structure and holds approximately 200 people. There is also meeting space on the first floor and an outdoor patio. All are elegantly renovated and decorated. Check out what Steve and Connie Brown have created at thebrownstonetopeka. com! Great Overland Station: This gorgeous, historically rich building opened in 1927 as a passenger station for the Union Pacific Railroad. With a detailed history (read the amazing story and view pictures for yourself at it was rennovated and reopened in 2004 by Railroad Heritage, Inc. as a landmark. It has put on its own events throughout the year, but is also open for facility rental. The Main Waiting Room can hold approximately 200 people, with the East Gallery adding 100 more. Heritage Hall: This is the largest and oldest venue on this list. It is capable of holding 350 people and although the building isn’t this old, the first recorded event on the Kansas Expocentre grounds, a local fair, dates back to 1871. With over 5,000 square feet, history, an outside gazebo, and a stage, it has a lot to offer. The story behind the entire complex is amazing and you can read about it and book your next event at


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Glaciers Edge 1636 SE 85th St, Wakarusa, KS 66546 | While beginning as a vineyard in 2005, Glaciers Edge Winery and Vineyard’s geological history is much older. It exists on the edge of a glacial moraine created more than 10,000 years ago when the last immense glacier traveled to Northeast Kansas. Thanks to this geology, it has a gently sloping terrain that provides nice drainage for the vines. A visit to this winery is a chance to learn about Kansas Wine, ask questions, and to experience exceptional Kansas Wine via samples, glasses, or bottles. They have several thousand vines of regional cultivars: Norton, Noiret, Crimson Cabernet, Traminette, Catawba, Seyval Blanc, Vidal Blanc, and Muscat. The wine list always includes a variety of styles to be appreciated by any palate: dry reds, dry whites, off dry whites, semi-sweet whites and reds, and sweet red wines. Do not forget to try the wine slushies– they are so popular that they have them year round! The wine selection also includes various fruit wines – which are sweet but not over-the-top, too sweet. They offer a charcuterie plate as a way to pair their wine with a variety of cured meat and cheese selections. Your visit could also include entertainment and a food truck as they participate the First Friday Art Walk February through December. They also have an entertainment and food truck schedule that they announce on their Facebook page. Glaciers Edge generously offers their event space for use to nonprofit groups at a greatly reduced cost. The winery is also great place to have holiday celebrations for businesses, corporate events, and families. In addition to an event space, the outside porch and patio, complete with outdoor fireplace makes a wonderful location to enjoy your wine and the vineyard. Wine is always a great gift idea, and just in time for the holidays Glaciers Edge will have their Cranberry Wine as well as a new tawny port-style wine. They also have gift certificates and we can arrange a gift basket with wine, glasses, and other wine related items.

New Hours as of October 2017 Friday 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. Saturday 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. Sunday 12 p.m. - 5p.m. Indoor and outdoor event spaces for any occasion!

Also open later at selected times such as First Fridays and Saturdays! 26

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Taking the Stress out of the Season of Giving Soon your mailbox will begin filling up with requests from nonprofit organizations asking for a holiday or year-end gift to assist them fulfill their mission in our community. Saying “yes” to all of them is probably not possible, so how do you decide which group to support? Here are four ideas to consider as you make a charitable giving plan:

1. Construct a budget. Think through how much money you’d like to contribute and set it aside for that purpose.

2. Check them out. Dig into the causes you care about and find out which

organizations are doing great work to help those causes. Spend some time on their web sites getting to know the organization and its leaders.

3. Create a conversation with your children. It’s important (and fun!) for children Marsha Pope Topeka Community Foundation President

to learn about philanthropy. Even young children understand sharing. Hands-on opportunities for sharing of time and treasure are a great way to involve them in generosity.

4. Consider a Donor Advised Fund at the Topeka Community Foundation. Creating a fund gives you an immediate tax advantage and you can donate the funds at any time in the future … meanwhile the money grows tax free.

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and a charitable new year!

Renovation & Expansion is Underway at

The Topeka Country Club g n i r e ff O w o N

Overall Site Plan

Dining ips sh Member

membership - golf - tennis - swim - dining EST. 1905

Multiple membership options are available to fit your busy lifestyle!

For more information, contact: Gina Patterson at (785) 354-8561 or





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Battle the Bulge

Mix Up Your Workout wi Crossfit! Brett James, Owner CrossFit Free State

As we begin the holiday season and near the new year, many of us begin thinking about January and what we would like to accomplish. Sometimes that happens through official New Year’s resolutions. More often, it comes in the form of vague goals of “being healthy” or “taking better care of ourselves”. This year we ask you to make a clear resolution to prioritize your health by starting your fitness journey with us.

Set Goals

We all know that setting goals is a great way to meet those New Year’s resolutions, but we don’t want you to just set goals. We want you to set SMART goals. Your health goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. You want to get away from, “I want to lose weight,” and think in SMART fashion. So, “I want to lose 10 pounds, and I want to do it in 3 months, because I want my cholesterol to be better in time for my next check-up.” The second goal gives us an amount to lose, a time frame to get it done, and motivation behind why we want to make the change. At CrossFit Free State, we ensure our workouts also have these characteristics. We want goals that can be achieved, but also we want to know how to improve over time, and have the continued motivation for consistent improvement.

Just Get Started

One of the biggest obstacles that people face when trying to start a new fitness regime is just that: getting started. The best part about CrossFit is that you don’t have to worry about designing your own workouts. Our WOD (Workout Of the Day) is already programmed every single day. Our highly skilled coaches have classes planned and ready to go before you arrive. There is no need to worry about what you need to do. Just arrive at the box (CrossFit gyms are known as “boxes”) and get fit. You also shouldn’t worry about knowing all the moves before you begin or wondering if you can get through the WOD. We have classes that teach the basics and all CrossFit workouts can be tailored to any fitness level. We truly help you progress through your fitness journey at your own pace.

It’s Okay to Fail, But Don’t Quit

Results That Move Your Heart One of the Top Old Republic Title Insurance remitters in Topeka, Junction City, and Manhattan in 2016.



We all suffer setbacks. So you went to a party and didn’t eat according to your diet or you overslept and didn’t work out?

5990 SW 28th St. 785-273-7900

2601 Anderson 785-320-2192

Junction City 831 W 6th St. 785-233-5550

Find us on Social Media

Family owned and operated since 2003

Tom Lorson

TJ Lorson


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It’s okay to encounter setbacks or obstacles during your journey! Health is not a sprint! The important thing is to ensure setbacks don’t derail your journey. There is always another Monday to start fresh, or a next meal to make better food choices. Consistency is the key, not perfection. The best thing about working out in a community like CrossFit is that you can share your successes and failures with the people next to you during the WOD. The community helps each other stay accountable and cheer on every member of the box.

Proud Supporter of The Junior League of Topeka!

Your Fitness Is Your Own

While we use competition and camaraderie to push each other to work harder, at CrossFit Free State we ultimately

understand that your fitness is your own. Your biggest competition is yourself. Your journey is yours to map. We are there to provide the support to help you find the road to the best version of you.

Have Fun

We know the best gym or coach is the one that motivates you to come back and genuinely wants to see you every day. We believe our mix of workouts, community, and coaching provide a great environment to learn, grow, and have fun. Join us through the week for a beginner class, or stop in for a Saturday morning open gym to visit about your fitness goals. Let CrossFit Free State be your partner on your fitness journey.

PHONE: 785.357.6311 TOLL FREE: 1.800.369.6311

4100 SW Martin Dr.,Topeka, Kansas (785) 608-4144

Offices in Topeka and Lawrence.


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Proud to Support Topeka Junior League COX IS A PROUD SUPPORTER OF


Member FDIC

The best in banking technology!


And, 2 Convenient Locations in Topeka 800 SE Quincy (785) 234-2265 1501 SW Wanamaker (785) 228-3020

Cox Solutions Store

A girl is born every two hours with Rett syndrome — a rare neurological disorder. Children with Rett syndrome require constant daily care and most children lose their ability to talk and to walk. But they ARE smart and they DO understand you! Visit for more information!


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Fall Into Fashion! Elizabeth Blakely, cabi Stylist The temperatures are falling and leaves are falling, so it’s time to think fall fashions. This season’s trends are flaunting dazzling details, ie., buttons, bows, beads and hints of fur – it’s the heart of glamour and the soul of chic. One of the strongest trends this fall/winter is “Animal Instincts” so look for leopard prints, furry vests and snake skin belts. Boots and booties are the perfect accessory to add skins from the jungle also. Don’t forget the accent of jewelry with touches such as bees and birds perched on gold strand necklaces and bracelets. “Tough Love” is another trend on the fashion front for fall and winter. We love that feminine flaunt but this season adds an edge to that girlish look. One of the staples in your wardrobe is the jean jacket, but don’t settle for denim this season. Look for fabrics that push the edge, such as metallic velvet or a suede jacket that’s been dipped in wine. And oversized buttons are a must. “Tough Love” pieces are easy to recognize because they will turn heads your way when you wear that edgy piece. Your accessories of hats and handbags are easy pieces to add to your wardrobe. Always look for bold colors like the on-trend color of mustard. It’s that 60’s inspired yellow hue and it’s easy to mix with navy or

tobacco brown to add a sweet and spicy look that is anything but boring. One more fall/winter trend that’s a must is “Everything and More.” Look for details of tassels, fringe and bows. Then stack on the jewelry and don’t limit yourself to one necklace. Wear two and then add a scarf. You want to look for earrings with a flapper look and your arm candy should be bold and daring with chunky bracelets that you can stack on your arm. Experiment with one of these new fashion trends this season. Express yourself as you step out of your comfort zone and enjoy the search for fashions that add a new sense of adventure.

Communities Matter <br >

For over 135 years, AT&T employees have led efforts to strengthen the communities where we live and work. Our employees, our communities and our business are all stronger because of it. <br >

© 2017 AT&T Intellectual Property. AT&T, Globe logo, Mobilizing Your World and DIRECTV are registered trademarks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks are the property of their respective owners. <br >


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Leaving A Legacy Legacy Giving

1. Verb. To convey one’s values through creation of a future gift of charity. 2. Noun. A foresighted action to strengthen a favorite cause. Representing a meaningful way to express one’s values while promoting sustainability for causes we care about, Legacy Giving is an investment in a charitable organization’s future financial well-being. With a legacy gift, we are able to combine our desire to give to a charitable organization we have a special connection to with our financial and estate planning goals. Any individual can create a legacy gift by naming a charitable organization on the beneficiary form of his or her saving, checking, certificate of deposit and or pension account, as well as in a will, living trust or insurance policy. This form of giving is not limited to an elite few. Anyone can support his or her favorite charitable organization through Legacy Giving and make a lasting mark through a gift that leaves the world a better place. Considering making a gift bequest? Contact your attorney or a financial professional to learn about the variety of opportunities available.

Shelley Ramos Executive Director CASA of Shawnee County

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WHY GENEROSITY? Simply put, generosity is our responsibility. Giving, whether to help someone in need, preserve the past or build the future, is our way of paying forward what we have been given to ensure a world we want for our future, the future of our children and the future of our children’s children. By giving now, we improve today and define our tomorrow. ⁓Tara Dimick

The Dimick family created the first Seed Fund in March 2017.

THROUGH SEED FUNDS WHY THE TOPEKA COMMUNITY FOUNDATION? The Topeka Community Foundation now offers Seed Funds. These affordable and flexible funds are perfect for young professionals who want to grow their generosity. Seed Funds offer all the benefits and personal service the Foundation extends while you grow your fund. And when you make your first grant, the Foundation will match it (up to $1,000). Contact the Foundation to learn more about growing your generosity through a Seed Fund. 5431 SW 29th Street Suite 300 Topeka, KS 66614 785-272-4804

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